Just an idea, hopefully one that might make it into reality at some point.
I visited the Hancock Museum recently (which I shall persist in calling it despite its rebrand as the Great North Museum, because it was damn good of the Hancocks to give it to us and we should remember that) and spotted this interesting armour on one of the displays;
I can’t remember where it’s from exactly, somewhere East. The body stuff is very pretty, especially with the gold nipple ring (?), but it’s the arms that caught my eye.
It’s chain, mounted on what looks like leather. But, it’s spaced out. On the inside bend of the elbow, the chain is more of a mesh that a fabric. It would still give some protection, but would also be a lot more flexible. On the vulnerable bicep and shoulder parts, there are metal plates. I don’t have a clue why they’re shaped, but it looks good. Over the hand there are plates as well, I couldn’t figure out if it was hardened leather or tarnished metal though.
I like the look of it. Looks comfy, practical, ruggedly pretty, and, more importantly…. achievable with my limited armour making skills. I’ve got a few projects to get done first, but something along these lines may be going on my to do list.
I’d want more than sleeves, probably torso and sleeves to start with. I’ve seen butchers chain mounted on fabric gambesons before, and heard its super comfy, but it has a few disadvantages. The gambesons are usually padded, so they soak up sweat an mud, but you can’t wash them without removing the chain. The weight of the chain on the fabric and stitching can be an issue too, causing stretching and tearing. And they’re heavy, and clumpy, and hard to move in. But something along these lines, with a thinner backing and mesh areas for flexibility… Hmmm.
I should be able to make a leather, or unpadded canvas, gameson type thing, maybe with removable (washable) padding. That would spread the weight of the chain and, hopefully, make it comfier to wear. I could try and source some scraps of knackered used chain from LRP folk, or buy a cheap suit from China to deconstruct. With the rings being sewn down, I might be able to get away with un-riveted aluminium. The mesh weave I’d probably have to do myself from individual rings.
Ooooh, I wonder if I could make it from copper rings? That would be pretty, and lightweight. Easier to work with too. Might tarnish and rot the backing though….
The plate panels might be more tricky. I could probably manage round-ish ones rather than the ovals on the museum piece, but it would take work. And I’d have to check with refs on what it would count as, not being standard armour, it might not fit into a rules slot.
So, bit of a ramble, but I wanted to get the idea written down. If anyone’s seen something similar out there, or tried to make something themselves, get in touch.